Memories From the Set

John Noble Recalls His Time on Fringe, 24, Sleepy Hollow and More

John Noble Elementary

A recurring feature in which we ask your favorite stars to reminisce about past gigs

In his distinguished acting career, John Noble has played — among other roles — a lovable mad scientist, a sin eater, a power-hungry Transformer and the insane steward of a Middle Earth throne.

And as such, when you approach him on the street, he knows exactly what you want to talk about.

RELATED Sleepy Hollow Snags Season 3 — and a New Showrunner

“Over the years, I’ve found that there is a bit of cliché about fans being an oppressive sort of people. But they’re not. Most of them are really beautiful, thoughtful and very respectful,” Noble says, sitting in the lower lobby of New York’s Linda Gross Theater, where he’s starring opposite Hamish Linklater (The New Adventures of Old Christine) in Atlantic Theater Company’s Posterity through April 5.

“Without people watching us or following us or caring about us, then it doesn’t matter what we do. It’s a two-way process,” he adds.

RELATED Sleepy Hollow‘s Tom Mison Talks Ichabod’s ‘Stiff Upper Lip,’ a Chance to Be ‘Brilliant’ in Season 3

Fan love for the Australian actor is boosted by the American television sci-fi projects in which he’s been involved (Fringe, Sleepy Hollow, Transformers Prime) as well as his role in the fantasy juggernaut Lord of the Rings films. But there have been quite a few others — The Good Wife, anyone? — and at TVLine’s request, Noble revisited several of his past jobs.

Click through the gallery below to get Noble’s take on playing Walter Bishop, Henry Parrish, Matthew Ashbaugh, Anatoly Markov and more.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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36 Comments
  1. Drew says:

    I want a Fringe revival!
    I do like that he was honest about season 2 of Sleepy Hollow. No solid plans and more episodes to produce made the season very messy.

    • rowan77 says:

      He absolutely hit the nail on the head. This season wasn’t thought out and meandered so much. I hope they do better in season 3.

  2. Me says:

    Oh, I absolutely agree with him about his lack of scenes with Tom Mison on Sleepy Hollow. On the rare occasion when they DID have one, you could feel the electricity through your television. Boggled my mind that the writers producers didn’t see that, too, and spend more time devising reasons for them to face off all season.

    • Veronica says:

      I love that he didn’t bullsh*t about the quality of the second season. Thanks for keeping’ it real.

    • Alichat says:

      It was so good, I kept thinking they would have a father/son reunion at some point….see that electricity flourish into this great bond. They really did waste Noble in season 2.

  3. Mr. Tran K says:

    John Noble got no Emmy love for his performance on FRINGE.

    • Delirious says:

      Hence why many of us refer to huge Emmy snubs as “John Noble effect”, or “(the Academy/voters/etc) pulling a Noble” (or any version of that).

      And I (we) still think it’s a travesty of epic proportions. For some reason, among ALL his stellar perfomances, I always remember “Transilience…” (S05E01) as a standout, especially the ending.

  4. rarefied says:

    I’m still very bitter that Sleepy Hollow didn’t use him properly in S2. What were they thinking?

  5. justsomeguy says:

    It all makes sense now why the show went off the rails the way it did in season 2. They had created the ultimate mythology and storyline with a time traveler in Ichabod Crane, the Founding Fathers, all of the secret groups and clubs they introduced in season 1 that could be explored as friend or foe in their battle against Henry and Moloch and the other Horsemen they hadn’t even introduced yet.. and goodness, there was so much there. Not to mention the Headless Horseman, who up until season 2 was the main protagonist. I’m just shocked and amazed at the train wreck that Season 2 was.

    Sleepy Hollow should be one of the biggest shows on TV. It frustrates me reading this knowing how it played out. They did it right.. and then stopped doing what worked and kept people talking about the show. The Sleepy Hollow pilot is still my favorite pilot since Lost, easily. I hope Season 3 gets back to how great it was in Season 1.

  6. Charity says:

    I miss Fringe. It was ten kinds of acid-dripped awesome.

  7. Timmah says:

    John Noble is all kinds of awesome.

  8. BrightLight says:

    I love that John Noble loves the episode “Peter” as much as I do. To me, it’s absolute perfection and of course now I want to watch it again for the umpteenth time.
    And kudos to him for having the guts to speak up about the mess that was Season 2 of SH. Not too many people involved with a show will reveal what they hate about it for fear of biting the hand that feeds them.

  9. herman1959 says:

    Now we get it straight from the horses mouth – “they didn’t have a clue what to do…” with John Noble. Uh-huh, we already knew. So, Henry’s dead, Katrina’s gone, Headless is MIA…SH writers start writing!

    • Jemjean says:

      Absolutely! The show is called Sleepy Hollow, but where is the cast? As much as I love Mr. Noble, I believe his character should have remained the sin eater. We would then still have he sleepy hollow cast intact, instead of the cop now seem faced with. Katrina would have been able to follow though to her purpose and Headless would still be headless. Thank you Mr. Noble for laying the blame where it belongs, on the heads and in the hands of the writers.

  10. Chris says:

    Wow, he was in Season 6 of 24? I must have forgot. Though to be honest, I tried to forget there was a Season 6 of 24. (Both Jack’s brother and father were terrorists? Give me a break).

  11. Loved him in Fringe. He was the reason I tuned in every week.

  12. I love John Noble and I am still upset that he was wasted in Sleepy Hollow Season 2. I hope he gets another delicious part on a series soon.

    • DebG says:

      I want the people at “Once Upon a Time” to wake up and cast him as .. well anything! He would be perfect as the Sorcerer, the writer of the storybook (if they aren’t the same person) or any other character they can dream up.The moment I saw the pilot I thought to myself “wouldn’t John Noble be perfect in this series”.

  13. ann says:

    I wish he could play Walter Bishop forever, too! Fringe was one of my favorites. It’s still on the Science channel late Friday/early Saturday mornings. I record every episode — even though I’ve seen each one about twenty times!

  14. April says:

    My dream would be for a Fringe revival maybe on Netflix. I feel I should write them a letter to consider picking up Fringe. I mean there’s so many stories they could tell.

  15. DarkDefender says:

    Walter Bishop was my most favorite thing. It makes me smile knowing he loved his FRINGE character as much as we all did.

  16. GeoDiva says:

    Really appreciate his honesty. Big Fan of Fringe!

  17. Imzadi says:

    I realize this is TV Line, but I loved/hated him as Denethor in The Lord of the Rings. He was awesome. I wish he had talked about that role as well.

  18. Susannah says:

    Is it common for actors to think of fans as an “oppressive sort of people”? Seems a bit harsh. (I prefer enthusiastic!) I’m glad John Noble sees us differently.

  19. evababy says:

    Even though he has a such a varied career, he will always be Walter(and Walternate) to me.

    I love what he said about S2 of Sleepy Hollow. It became very apparent as time went on and things got dropped (The Kindred, Headless as a scary being) and characters went MIA for long stretches (Jenny, Irving, Reyes) and how very poorly they were serving their main characters of Ichabod and Abbie that they had no coherent plan for S2. I feel bad for him because his towering talent was wasted and was used primarily to serve the one character they desperately wanted to prop up this season.

  20. Jimmy Mac says:

    I sorely miss Walter, Peter, Olivia and Astrid…

  21. He will always be my Walter Bishop

  22. John Noble is not only a masterful actor in every medium; a truly inspiring artist, but (more importantly) he is also a lovely, kind, and exceedingly generous man. I’ve had the good fortune to see him on the New York stage in two plays (Substance of Fire & Posterity) as well as to spend time with him, and he is deserving of all the praise, respect, and adoration that his many fans bestow upon him. He is a rare gem, indeed. (It is also remarkable how people are still discovering FRINGE for the first time all over the world, while others like myself continue to watch and marvel at John’s inimitable portrayal of Walter. That fandom will live on forever.)

  23. Greg says:

    He voiced Unicron, not “Omnicron.” There was never a character named Omnicron.

  24. Trisha says:

    Fringe was the most exciting show I have ever seen! I cried when it ended like it did and that it was the very last episode! I felt Walter should have stayed the Peter and Olivia instead of taking of to the future! Walter was my favorite character. He made the show so exciting and you never knew what he would do next. I also loved the other characters as well. There was so much chemistry between all the them. Olivia, Peter, Astrid, they all made the show what it was. I would love to see Fringe come back to life!! WALTER, I MISS YOU! I have watched Fringe over and over and never get tired of it.

    I really like Sleepy Hollow. And feel there should have been more parts with Katrina and Henry in it. it is still very exciting to me. Can’t wait to get the 2nd season on dvd. And see what season 3 has to offer.

  25. Dennis says:

    About time they brought back “sleepy hollow” I was afraid they were going to cancel it. Best show on tv.